Obama noted the difficult context of the past year, with a deadly pandemic as well as racial unrest across the US: “You’re going to feel a kind of way about it, so give yourself a break.”
Obama said the key for her, and what she believes can help others, too, is developing tools.
“For me, it’s turning off the noise that is upsetting,” she said, explaining how she had to take breaks from consuming news that was “fueling [her] anxiety” during quarantine. She said she surrounded herself with things that made her feel good: friends, family, walks, and exercise.
“When I talk to my kids about it, I try to urge them that the valleys are temporary, and so are the peaks … they have to be prepared to handle the highs and lows,” Obama said, adding that she urges them and other young people to start thinking about their tools.
“What are the things that bring you joy and the things that bring you calm and peace?” she asked, noting that it has taken her decades to develop the answers. “We have to be patient with ourselves, particularly in times that are hard, you know?”
Colbert admitted to a perhaps relatable scenario: “The difficult thing for me is that I know the things that will actually make me feel better, and I don’t want to do them … When I’m depressed I don’t want to do anything.”
Obama encouraged Colbert and others to “push beyond that.” She said having a schedule, even during quarantine, of getting out of bed, taking a shower, and getting dressed every day “gets you out of the funk.”
“I find if I spend the whole day in a sour mood, lights out, in bed, the next day I’ll feel the same way. But if I get up, I shower, something might happen in the course of my doing that that really knocks me into a positive place … Don’t wallow in your low.”
“Can I get that as my alarm in the morning?” Colbert joked. “Can I get a copy of that and have my iPhone play that for me?”
Watch the full interview:
Brittany Bowker can be reached at email@example.com. Follower her on Twitter @brittbowker.